LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Habits of a Successful Leader

By Leadership Resources 05/05/2022
Group of leaders smiling

No two leaders are exactly alike, but the most successful leaders often have plenty in common. Personal preferences, opinions, and life experiences aside, certain leadership qualities ring true across the board.

Characteristics like honesty, responsiveness, passion, and integrity are almost universally valued in successful and growing companies. While these traits might be somewhat inherent in certain leaders, the best leaders become successful by honing specific skills through hard work and habit formation. 

What, exactly, are the habits of some of the world’s most effective leaders? Let’s outline the habits of a successful leader that most reliably allow people to acquire and maintain leadership success in their workplace and life.

Cultivating a Thirst for Knowledge

One of the most important qualities of an effective leader is the willingness and ability to continuously learn. Curiosity counts because it keeps people reaching out to educate themselves about new topics and innovative ideas arising in the world.

A successful leader gathers knowledge from a wide variety of sources. They read books across genres and fields of expertise, listen to people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and ask questions of their peers, employees, friends, and even strangers. All of these activities allow leaders to expand their horizons. 

Even if a piece of information might not seem immediately relevant to a leader’s life or career, it could be immensely helpful later. This is why a successful leader often has an unexpected type of hobby or interest. The diversity of their learning leads to a diversity of hobbies and habits.

The culmination of these various bits of knowledge can be synthesized over time in new and unique ways. Creativity abounds when your brain is constantly in a state of stimulation. There is no downside, only upside, to receiving an ongoing education. Successful leaders know there’s always more to discover.

Maintaining a Balance of Confidence and Humility

There are always areas of growth for leaders, and the only way to identify and improve those areas is to put your ego aside, then pick it back up to act on those necessary changes. Leadership success comes with power and privileges, and this prestige can cloud the mind of individuals who lack humility. 

Conversely, leaders who lack confidence can struggle to get things done, create buy-in, and maintain positive forward momentum. The void in their interpersonal skill causes people to keep them at a distance, which makes team-building a struggle.

As such, the most successful leaders strike a careful balance between confidence and humility. They’ve developed a skill for listening closely to their peers and team members while not backing down from bold ideas.

Focusing on Physical, Mental, and Social Health

The aforementioned array of power and privilege inherent in leadership also brings its fair share of stress, which manifests both in the mind and body. Leaders who fail to take care of their mental and physical health can burn out, lash out, and/or simply become less effective overall. 

Social health is also important because it keeps people connected to their colleagues, friends, family members, and society. Ample research has shown that when someone is overly isolated, their socio-emotional health suffers and they’re at higher risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Overall leadership success largely depends on maintaining a healthy lifestyle both in and out of work. The best leaders focus on managing leadership stress by exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating healthfully, taking breaks, practicing mindfulness, and more. They may engage in relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga, which have positive effects on the heart, mind, and body.

Taking the time for self-care allows leaders to operate with a clear mind and high-functioning body. This is crucial for maintaining a Success ChainTM of positive habits like getting things done quickly and getting them done right.

Staying Organized Personally and Professionally

Effective leaders are also well-organized where it counts. While a messy desk might be a proverbial sign of genius, it’s not exactly ideal for strategic planning, scheduling, goal-tracking, and so on. 

Organization helps everything stay on track, especially when someone is in charge of managing people and teams. Keeping documents and items in their proper places, taking regular notes, journaling, and maintaining a detailed calendar helps keep things straight so leaders can spend less time and energy shuffling papers around and more on other matters.

When a leader has good organizational skills, this sets the stage for other high-level leadership tasks like team-based brainstorming, innovative idea generation, performance management, employee check-ins, executive meetings, and much more.

Positively Pushing Themselves and Others

Organizations can only grow if leaders and their teams are constantly coming up with new ideas and taking calculated risks. Indeed, this willingness to push the envelope is one of the key qualities of a good leader, and honing it depends on leaders pushing themselves out of their comfort zones in every area of their lives, including at work. 

When we refer to “pushing themselves and others” in this context, what we mean is positive pushing. Good leaders aren’t pushy, but they bring others along through positive motivation, inspiration, and a drive to achieve greater things in the future. They challenge others to accomplish things because they’re constantly challenging themselves to do so too.

Successful leaders are always challenging themselves, whether it’s running an extra quarter-mile than initially planned, trying a new type of cuisine, attending an unlikely event, making a new friend, or almost anything else. Living life “on the edge” in this way conditions leaders to be bolder in the workplace and mitigate the fear of the unknown so their organization and people can grow in unexpected ways.

Successful leaders are creatures of habit – but not just any habits. These are positive, proactive, and productive habits that help growing organizations. The habits of leadership involve pursuits like gaining new knowledge, becoming more self-aware, improving one’s mental and physical well-being, staying organized, and always staying open to trying new things.

Remember: Leadership Habits are Learned, Not Inborn

People often assume that leadership habits naturally arise from certain personalities and backgrounds, but that’s not the case. There is no “leadership gene” or inborn trait that automatically makes someone a good leader.

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Leadership is learned behavior that comes from building habits and practicing leadership skills. This includes actively practicing a wide variety of leadership-related habits such as:

  • Building strong paths of communication between oneself and others
  • Regularly putting organizational skills to work
  • Openness to joining and leading teams
  • A desire to grow and learn
  • Practicing flexibility and adaptability in thinking
  • Forging interpersonal connections
  • Strategic thinking whenever possible
  • Finding humor and creativity in daily life
  • Openness to receiving feedback from peers and supervisors
  • Willingness to be held accountable for one’s work

Almost every company has plenty of potential leaders who need a supportive culture that provides enough guidance to go to the next level. They’re ready to learn new leadership skills and habits, but aren’t sure how to pursue a path to leadership without their organization’s help. 

Do you have emerging leaders who could benefit from leadership development coaching and education? If so, take a look at the information below about a proven program that builds productive leadership habits.

The Accelerate Leadership Program

At Leadership Resources, our goal is to help companies thrive through proven techniques for developing positive leadership habits that lead to organizational success. The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) helps participants expand their leadership talent, confidence, and knowledge. 

This is an effective way to learn leadership habits because ALP allows each participant to hone their leadership style while learning the essential skills it takes to motivate and inspire people. It’s a personalized and individualized program that allows each person to build productive new habits in their own way.

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ALP is different from many other types of habit-building programs because it’s coaching, not just training. Leadership coaching programs go far beyond basic leadership training programs because they use a more robust approach that incorporates a proven process, customized coursework, peer connections, leadership coaches, interactive software, and an archive of helpful resources to help them stay engaged.

At Leadership Resources, we help companies identify emerging leaders and give them the habits they need to stay successful. We’re here to provide guidance and support when your company needs to build positive habits of leadership that will last for the long haul.

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The Top 5 Recommended Strategic Planning Process Steps

By Leadership Resources 04/30/2022

As you research ways to grow and optimize your business, you’ll come across the term “strategic planning” quite a bit. But what is strategic planning, exactly? Strategic planning refers to a carefully crafted and supervised process (or processes) that helps you make informed decisions to grow your business and overcome obstacles. Like any competent strategy, this planning involves many moving parts that must remain flexible enough to allow for changes when necessary. Let’s break down five crucial strategic planning process steps so you can safely steer your organization in the right direction.

What Are the Five Steps in the Strategic Planning Process?

1. Understand Where You Stand

The strategic planning process begins with a thorough analysis of your organization’s current situation. If you don’t know where you stand right now, you won’t know where to go next. Determining your strategic position requires collecting good data from multiple angles. Seek detailed insights from your leadership team, receive feedback from employees and customers, and compare key performance indicators (KPIs) with those of competitors in your market. Take a look at your company’s current vision and mission statements as well. Once you’ve gathered all of this information, break it all down into four categories of interest: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This SWOT diagram (or similar visual aid) will help clarify your standing so you can better move forward with your strategic planning.

2. Form a Coherent Vision

Now that you’ve got an aerial view of your organization’s strategic position, it’s time to develop a new vision that addresses every weak point and bolsters your existing strengths. This vision should capture a broad, general, and concise picture of what your company wishes to achieve and become. Developing this vision can help you write a mission statement as well, which lays out your business’s reason for being. Having a clear, coherent vision and mission statement in place will provide a solid bedrock for your decisions moving forward.

3. Identify the Gaps

Strategic planning is all about getting to where you want to go efficiently. Your vision provides the general direction, like a compass – without a map, however, you’ll have a hard time avoiding the obstacles that stand in your way like rocks dotting the sea. The next step in this process, then, is to identify the barriers and gaps that separate your current position from the one you’re trying to achieve. Common gaps faced by companies of all sizes include public relations, financials, market share, internal systems, communication, and so on. Conduct a thorough gap analysis by breaking down specific gaps and asking key questions that dig to the heart of the matter. If, for instance, your business isn’t meeting a specific customer demand, you might ask why you’re not positioned to meet this need and realize you haven’t devoted the proper resources to that task.

4. Get Your Goals in Order

At this point, your organization should know where it stands, where it’s headed, and how to chart a course to get there. There’s still the matter of doing the work, however. This is where proper goal-setting comes into play. Every gap you identify should be met with a specific plan (i.e. goal) that addresses the problem with precise actions and indicators that relevant parties can keep track of. These goals should have a concrete date, specific figures, and list of individuals responsible for achieving them. Each goal, no matter how small, should be in service of the larger vision and focused by your latest mission statement.

5. Execute, Analyze, Revise

As you deploy your strategic plan, you’ll soon find that many variables are out of your control, such as market forces, personnel changes, destabilizing world events, and more. In some cases, you’ll simply fail to meet certain goals. If you cling too tightly to your plans or start from scratch, you’ll likely suffer setbacks. Rather than retrace all of your steps in strategic planning thus far, it’s better to adapt accordingly. Check in on your goals at intervals to track your progress and identify any unforeseen issues that have cropped up. If necessary, adjust your goals to account for these changes and repeat this cycle. Frequent monitoring is crucial for ensuring the success of any strategic plan, even if it means the details of said plan don’t look exactly the same over time.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Strategic Leadership: Pros and Cons

By Leadership Resources 04/27/2022
Strategic playing of Jenga

There is no single “right way” to operate a business or poise it for long-term success. Every enterprise is unique. Still, specific leadership development approaches transcend these differences, offering near-universal benefits to businesses of all sizes and types. 

Strategic leadership refers to one such approach to business management that can yield numerous long-term benefits when properly implemented and executed. Of course, it’s worth noting that the upsides of the strategic leadership approach are contrasted with some downsides, too. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of strategic leadership. In particular, we’ll focus on how your company can gain the immense benefits of strategic leadership while minimizing the impact of any potentially limiting factors.

What Is Strategic Leadership?

Strategic leadership can be defined as a leadership philosophy that prioritizes the communication and execution of a particular vision via tangible, streamlined actions and processes. In other words, the strategic leader not only generates and clarifies a business’ vision but also adeptly leads its team toward realizing said vision one step at a time.

The best strategic leaders can simultaneously keep the big picture and the key details in mind, which is precisely what allows their business to achieve its short- and long-term goals. The leadership skills required for this brand of leadership include strong communication, a focus on culture, judicious deployment of power, self-control, compassion, consistency, loyalty, and strong motivation.

The Plus Sides of Strategic Leadership

Many potential leadership development benefits come with the strategic leadership approach. First, strategic leaders can unite teams, generate buy-in, and keep everyone on the same page as they work together toward a collective goal. In this way, each strategic leader keeps their team members from losing focus or losing touch with one another, which makes it that much easier to move the entire business forward. 

Also, strategic leadership establishes a framework for practical decision-making. When goals are clearly communicated, everyone can better contribute to the collective vision. Strategic leadership also facilitates impartial, long-term thinking because it filters daily decisions through the lens of the broader vision.

Strategic leadership also encourages company-wide accountability and productivity, which sets the stage for overall success. Although some employees may fear the concept of accountability because it sounds a bit scary at first, the strategic leadership approach embraces positive accountability by incorporating active listening, interpersonal feedback, emotional intelligence-building, and leadership training.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

Finally, the best strategic leaders cultivate commitment among their teams by acting as daily role models for proficiency and practicality. In other words, they practice what they preach! For all of these reasons, businesses should consider investing in strategic leadership training

In fact, pursuing the strategic approach to leadership is one of the best ways to ensure a company succeeds at attracting top talent and retaining superstar employees. High achievers are naturally attracted to companies that come with the benefits listed above, and they’re more likely to remain at companies that are supportive and successful.

Imagine your company as a huge rowboat that’s out at sea, spinning out of control. A strategic leadership plan not only helps everyone put their paddles in the water and row together in unison, but it also points the boat in precisely the right direction so you arrive at the desired destination as quickly as possible.

The Setbacks of Strategic Leadership

A strategic leadership approach isn’t always a flawless one, of course. As with all long-term processes and goals, there’s no way to know for certain what the business, industry, or global situation will look like in the next year, five years, decade, and so on. A major challenge like a national economic instability or worldwide health crisis can put a strain on your organization.

Personal and professional stress is a side effect of these situations. In this way, long-term strategic thinking itself can become a significant expense and source of leadership stress, especially if a seemingly solid plan becomes irrelevant in the face of unpredictable changes. This is why strategic leaders must be as flexible as they are visionary. 

In a similar vein, strategic leaders can get lost in the bigger picture and start neglecting the business’ most pressing issues and needs, which can cause budding problems to go unresolved and eventually interfere with the very vision in question. This can put pressure on sales performance and other key metrics of success.

Ultimately, a lack of attention to the present moment can halt company growth and even result in long-term harm. Strategic leaders who either take too many risks or are too risk-averse can cause the company to miss out on key opportunities.

On the flip side, even sudden rapid growth can come with a dangerous downside. What if you leverage strategic leadership and suddenly find runaway success? The human beings responsible for handling extremely fast growth can become bogged down and overwhelmed in the process. Your employees need the company to help them cope successfully with this rapid pace of change.

To avoid negative outcomes, a company can prioritize fostering a positive and supportive organizational culture. This includes addressing the foundational elements of the Success ChainTM, like actions, behaviors, attitudes, and habits of thought.

It’s also essential to implement company structures and procedures that nurture strategic leadership, like succession planning, using an entrepreneurial operating system, and choosing technological solutions that support rather than hinder success.

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Developing a Winning Strategy for Your Leaders

Strategic leadership is not inherently good or bad, but rather a tool that can raise a business up for years to come or sink the whole ship for lack of seeing the iceberg straight ahead. Every enterprise must determine its own balanced approach to strategic leadership development so it’s able to safely navigate the current moment while aiming for the bigger goal in the distance.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. We offer a wide range of coaching and business consulting services that help you support your valuable employees’ personal and professional success.

Contact us to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most. We strongly encourage any company interested in strategic leadership to explore the Accelerate Leadership Program, which is explained in more detail below.

Strategic Leadership With the Accelerate Leadership Program

The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) is one of the best ways to ensure your company takes full advantage of the benefits of strategic leadership while limiting any potential downsides. It helps you get the most out of your leaders at all levels.

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Enroll as many emerging leaders as you wish, and they’ll each experience a leadership program that feels personalized and individualized. They’ll develop their leadership skills alongside their peers in a proven leadership curriculum that involves interpersonal skill-building, leadership coaching, and a progressive two-stage program that uses our proprietary Accelerate software to guide each participant to success.

Ready to learn more? Explore ALP now or schedule a consultation with us today. We’ve helped hundreds of companies support their high-potential leaders through skillful strategic leadership. You could be our next of many success stories!

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Are Talent Development and Succession Planning the Same and What Does My Leadership Team Need?

By Leadership Resources 04/15/2022

Competent leadership lies at the heart of every successful organization. That said, strong leaders don’t appear out of thin air. While some individuals display a propensity for leadership at an early stage, their skills must be honed and directed towards the business’s long-term goals. When properly managed, a company’s top talent paves the way for its future, taking over roles left vacant by previous leaders who have moved on – two terms describe this larger process: talent development and succession planning. But while these concepts are closely related, they’re not one in the same. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two processes will help you figure out how to approach the ongoing development of your leadership team.

What Is Talent Development?

Put simply, talent development (also dubbed talent management) refers to an organization’s various processes dedicated to the assessment and advancement of their most promising employees. This process begins at the recruitment and hiring stages, wherein existing leaders seek the best candidates for particular roles. Once a new hire is on board, efforts must be made to retain this talent, especially in a highly competitive market. Talent retention and leadership development go hand in hand – when employees are incentivized to grow within an organization, they’re more likely to stick with it. There’s always a risk associated with talent development, of course, as this process also makes your employees more attractive to other employers. Generally speaking, the potential benefits of continuous talent development and management outweigh the risks.

What Is Succession Planning?

Whereas talent development takes a close look at individuals, succession planning first takes a close look at specific roles. Once key roles have been identified, current leaders must consider which qualities are required for filling said roles when they become vacant, and which employees are prime candidates (internal or external) for taking on these responsibilities when the time comes. If you’re wondering, “Why is succession planning important?” consider the pitfalls of losing a C-level leader without an adequate substitute for an extended period of time. Proper succession planning ensures that every vital position maintains strong leadership, securing the organization’s legacy.

How Talent Development and Succession Planning Interact

Succession planning and talent development are unique processes, but they’re inextricably linked. Without a thorough leadership development plan in place, you’ll have a hard time filling existing and new leadership roles in your organization. Likewise, without the incentive structure inherent in succession planning (i.e., major promotions and structural changes), your top talent may feel less motivated to grow within your company and stick around for the long haul. In other words, the best approach to both talent development and succession planning is one that understands the connection between them and facilitates a structure that cultivates leadership that propels the business forward.

Determining the Needs of Your Leadership Team and Organization

Different leaders within your organization’s leadership team will have different ambitions and needs. Budding leaders still have plenty to learn, but they also have a lot to teach their more seasoned peers. Leaders who have been around for some time might be preparing to retire, and others might be seeking employment elsewhere. Figuring out what your leadership team and your business needs requires strong communication and transparency. Leaders should promptly know when a vacancy is on the horizon and whether or not they’re in the running to take over the position. Everyone should also be kept in the loop regarding the organization’s mission and direction moving forward. And talent at all stages should continue to receive first-rate training and development to prepare them for whatever the future may hold.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Why Leadership Training Fails – And What to Do About It

By Leadership Resources 03/23/2022
Group doing leadership training

No one would argue against the importance of training. Whether you’re trying to get fit, learn a new skill, or form new habits, sticking with a training regimen is necessary for helping you achieve your goals and continue to grow. And yet, when it comes to training leaders within an organization, so many efforts fall short. Why is this? In this blog, we’ll explore why traditional leadership training models so often fail, and what you can do to foster more effective leadership development.

What to Know About Failed Leadership Training

Pitfalls of the “One and Done” Mindset

Training can take many different forms, but it always contains an educational component. As all students know from experience, some educational tools are primarily focused on delivering concrete answers that one can memorize and check off on a multiple-choice questionnaire – other programs, however, are rooted in cultivating a deep understanding of a topic and all its nuances. Leadership training too often falls into this former category, placing more emphasis on the completion of a course than on continued growth. A comprehensive leadership development program, on the other hand, recognizes that leaders never stop learning, providing foundational tools and support systems that help leaders adapt and grow throughout their careers.

Training Can Be Too Narrow or Too Broad

Leadership training programs often have another major problem: they’re either too hyper-focused on an organization’s specific operations or so broad that leaders struggle to apply what they’ve learned in any tangible way. Much like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, the key to continued growth lies somewhere in between. The ideal leadership development program should offer a wide range of resources and tools, so all bases are covered – but it should also be customized to comfortably mesh with your organization’s vision and goals. At Leadership Resources, our Accelerate Leadership Program is multi-faceted in this way, providing integrated software, leadership content, personal and communal development processes, emotional intelligence training, one-on-one coaching, and more.

The Issue Is Systemic

There’s a bit of push and pull when it comes to training leaders within a particular organization. On the one hand, existing business leaders want to maintain a steady ship, so leadership training is key. On the other hand, cultivating new leadership can put this stability at risk, for better or worse. What often happens, then, is that training protocols become too restrictive. This stagnation is usually unintentional and systemic in nature. Simply put, if individuals aren’t empowered to make necessary changes to the existing system, the system will retain its power, preventing meaningful change. So, in order to unlock the true potential of budding leaders and foster ongoing leadership growth, certain structural barriers must first be overcome.

Overcoming the Obstacles of Leadership Training

The question remains, then: how can a business overcome its systemic issues and provide a leadership program that makes a lasting impact on the individuals and the whole? For starters, top-level leaders should re-establish the organization’s values and clearly define a strategic plan. From there, collect anonymous feedback on current management and training protocols to pinpoint key issues. To tackle these concerns, you may need to reconfigure roles and responsibilities and create new goals aimed at affecting real change. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how well you’re achieving these goals and make adjustments as needed. Taking the time to dig into your business’ systemic failures and obstacles in this way will allow you to implement more effective leadership development processes. And as you cultivate stronger leaders, it will become easier to continue making these structural improvements, creating a positive feedback loop that propels your organization (and everyone in it) forward.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Top 5 Signs It’s Time to Begin Implementing Leadership Team Development

By Leadership Resources 02/28/2022
Group doing leadership team development

What to Know About Leadership Team Development

What Is Leadership Team Development?

Leadership team development refers to initiatives, materials, and opportunities aimed at helping your leadership team hone existing skills and learn new ones. The best leadership development programs help uncover potential blind spots in your leadership team and form new habits that propel the entire organization forward – leaders also find ways to grow as individuals. Let’s explore five key signs it’s time to begin implementing a strong leadership team development program in your organization.

1. Team Members Aren’t Fulfilled in Their Current Roles

Ideally, each and every one of your employees will be well-suited for the tasks under their purview. However, as time goes on, some team members might lose interest in their current roles, and others might no longer perform as well as they once did, despite their previous proficiency. One way to resolve these setbacks is to provide new opportunities for your team members that allow them to explore other roles and take on new responsibilities. However, without proper leadership development, said employees might not be prepared for a promotion or even a lateral move. Therefore, it’s crucial to provide leadership team development resources for your people so they’re ready to accept new challenges and switch roles when the time comes. Otherwise, you may be left with dissatisfied team members and uncomfortable overlaps in duties.

2. Communication Is Faltering

Leaders and employees within your organization must stay on the same page in order to make progress – this requires strong communication. If team members begin to lose sight of the collective vision or establish different benchmarks for success, everyone will struggle to work toward common goals. Improper communication will also make it difficult to resolve issues, which can fester over time. The importance of leadership development programs in regards to improving communication cannot be overstated. The best leadership development programs prioritize transparency and consistency so that there’s little room for misunderstandings or long-term conflicts in the future.

3. You’re Experiencing High Turnover

If your business is having a hard time holding onto its best people, it certainly stands to benefit from leadership team development. Simply put, people won’t stick around for long if they feel they’re not appreciated or that they’ve run out of room to grow within your organization. Honing leadership skills in all of your employees improves retention rates by, 1) expressing how much you value their personal growth, 2) opening doors for promotions and other opportunities, and 3) keeping your business competitive. The stronger the leaders inside your organization, the more formidable and valuable your business becomes – and people will want to be a part of that.

4. Your Team Is Missing the Mark

Performance issues are another key indicator that your company needs to invest more heavily in leadership development. It’s important that your employees not only continue to meet their goals but also that they’re able to adapt to a shifting marketplace. Goals and benchmarks are bound to change, and everyone within your organization must be able to face these challenges and changes head-on. A comprehensive leadership development plan improves employee flexibility and proficiency, ensuring that your business’s goals are continuously met or exceeded, no matter how things change over time.

5. Your Organization’s Future Is in Question (Succession Planning)

Even your most loyal and long-term employees will retire or otherwise leave at some point. If you want your organization to stand the test of time, you must be prepared to replace existing leaders with new blood when the time comes. As alluded to earlier, these roles can only be properly filled if you have employees at the ready who harbor the experience, skills, and passion to move up the ladder. So, you must always consider who someone’s successor will be – if you struggle to find an answer, you must make a quick and concerted effort to increase your business’ leadership development initiatives.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Top 3 Ways to Start Business Succession Planning Before It’s Detrimental to Team Members

By Leadership Resources 02/15/2022
Group of women on a team

What to Know About Starting Succession Planning

What Is Succession Planning?

The most enduring organizations see many people come and go over time. These companies have remained successful for so long thanks to one generation passing the torch to the next. Succession planning describes this strategy of preparing key employees for leadership roles as existing leaders move toward other opportunities or retirement. You can find many succession planning examples by browsing the histories of many major companies. Properly planning to fill vacancies in your business is essential for ensuring an organization’s legacy. However, succession planning features a number of potential pitfalls that can lead to stagnation and frustration. As such, deploying the proper strategy is crucial. Let’s explore the top three ways to start  business succession planning before it becomes detrimental to your team members and your organization as a whole.

1. Maintain Open Communication with Your Team

Transparency is always important when managing a team. While there’s always room for some discretion, withholding important information can damage trust and reduce your ability to plan for business succession. Simply put, your team should know when existing positions are preparing to open up. Not everyone in your organization will be a strong candidate for the role, of course. That said, failing to inform your team might cause certain high-potential employees to seek other opportunities, as they might feel they have no further room to grow within your business. By letting your people know what changes are on the horizon, you further motivate your team to maintain high achievement and consider their long-term involvement – this is good for morale, productivity, and longevity.

2. Remain Flexible

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for succession planning. Not only is every organization and role unique – each role within your business may be subject to change. For instance, an existing role might no longer be necessary due to changes in the market or technology; conversely, brand new roles may need to be created for similar reasons. Moreover, a high-potential team member might end up leaving before they can take over a role – without a backup plan, your organization can be left in a challenging position. So, if a leader is planning to leave in the near future, your succession plan might be more complex than replacing that one individual and role. Your plan should be flexible enough to adapt for these potential changes. As a general rule, reevaluate your current succession plan at least twice a year. Such a dynamic process deserves periodic updates.

3. Continually Invest in Leadership Development

You can’t implement a business succession plan if your people aren’t ready to take on new opportunities and challenges. By actively engaging your team in ongoing leadership development, you help ensure that the right people will be ready to take on new roles when the time comes. As mentioned earlier, not every team member will be capable of or interested in filling vacant positions down the road, but providing your entire organization with the tools required for leadership growth is essential for successful succession planning.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Top 4 Things to Look for when You’re Ready to Work With Strategic Planning Consultants

By Leadership Resources 01/31/2022
Strategic planning consultant presenting on a board

What Is Strategic Planning?

Attempting to grow or optimize your business without a detailed plan is sort of like trying to navigate uncharted territory without a map. Now that a new year is underway, it’s a perfect time to take stock of your current operations and develop a strategy for decision-making that will steer your ship in the right direction; this process is known as strategic planning. The best strategic plans don’t appear out of thin air or pop up overnight. Developing the right plan for your business requires a deep analysis of your operations, goals, roles, and resources. Strategic planning consultants have put in the time, effort, and research to help businesses find the best path forward through actionable strategies. Of course, not all consultants are created equal, and some are bound to be a better fit for your organization than others. If you’ve decided it’s time to work with such a consultant, you’ll want to do your due diligence before selecting a candidate.

With that in mind, here are four important questions to ask before hiring a strategic planning consultant.

What to Look for in Strategic Planning Consultants

1. What Is Their Experience?

Just as you would before hiring a new employee, you’ll want to learn all about a strategic planning consultant’s prior experience before bringing them on board. Even if all strategic planning consulting firms share a similar skillset, some will have experience that’s more relevant to your business, and some will have more experience on the whole. Ask a candidate about the firms they’ve worked with in the past and the industries they’re familiar with. Prioritize those who have been consulting for a long time and who have helped similar firms as yours develop and execute effective plans.

2. What Is Their Process?

Though every business will benefit from a unique plan, consultants should bring a strong strategic planning process to the table as a basic framework to get started. It’s important to get a glimpse into these processes before choosing a strategic planning consultant. For example, at Leadership Resources, our Accelerate Leadership Program is designed to help every organization build a culture of accountability and productivity via tools, content, peer development, one-on-one coaching, and more. The specifics of this program vary from business to business, but the building blocks remain the same, and they’ve proven effective.

3. What Is Their Reputation?

The best strategic planning consultants should be proud to reveal their track record. Ultimately, of course, it’s up to you to dig deeper into a candidate’s reputation. Fortunately, it’s often easy these days to find reviews and testimonials online. Be sure to examine a wide range of feedback (if applicable), and don’t be afraid to ask a given consultant about specific situations or clients (though they may only be able to volunteer so much information).

4. Are They Compatible with Your Culture?

This last factor often gets overlooked, but it’s crucial for ensuring long-term success with a strategic planning consultant. Simply put, if your company doesn’t mesh well with a consultant and/or consulting firm, problems can quickly arise, stifling results and sending you back to the drawing board. So, take the time to get to know a strategic planning consultant before hiring them to see just how compatible (or incompatible) you are. If they’re not a good fit, it’s best to look elsewhere, even if said candidate has everything else going for them.

Selecting a strategic planning consultant requires a bit of strategy in its own right. Checking for experience, process, reputation, and compatibility will help you find a reliable, long-term partner that will propel your organization in the right direction with clarity and accountability.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How Your Management Team Can Prepare when It’s Been Difficult to Hire New Team Members

By Leadership Resources 01/15/2022
Management team in a meeting

Though there is certainly no shortage of “Help Wanted” signs across the U.S. right now, many businesses are struggling to welcome new people aboard. The past two years have been challenging for employees and business leaders alike, and there’s no telling what the future will hold. Those in charge of team management may find themselves in a bind these days – even if they’re overseeing a solid team, it might lack in size. Though a smaller group can actually make team management easier, it can also limit productivity and growth. With that in mind, what can management teams do to prepare for the future when it’s been difficult to hire new team members? Let’s discuss.

How to Prepare for the Difficulty of Hiring New Team Members

Re-Establish Your Mission and Goals

As the world slowly returns to normalcy, there’s perhaps never been a better time to take a step back and re-evaluate your business’s and team’s priorities. Balancing multiple projects while short-staffed is never easy, but some projects are bound to be more essential than others. Consider whether and how your organization’s mission and goals may have changed since last year (and the year before that, etc.) – you might find that certain roles no longer need to be filled or that other roles can evolve, combine, and so on. Indeed, managing a smaller team might help you prioritize and focus on the most pressing matters that will propel your business forward. And when it becomes easier to recruit new team members once more, you’ll have a stronger grasp on the types of people you need and what to expect from them.

Focus on Developing Current Employees

Plenty of value can be derived from hiring new people. That said, you don’t want to bring new people on board simply for the sake of it. After all, recruitment is costly, and retention is vital. In many cases, the person you need to fill a new, important role is right in front of you – at least, they have the potential to grow into said role. As such, it’s equally as important to engage in leadership development as it is to seek out new team members externally. Employees with leadership potential will want to find avenues for growth, and it’s essential to provide them with these opportunities to keep them around. Of course, promoting an employee internally can leave a lower-level position unoccupied, so it’s crucial to prepare for these outcomes in advance (i.e., succession planning). Still, adding a member to your leadership team is a key way to strengthen your organization from the inside. In fact, doing so may help you hire new team members in the future.

Rethink Your Hiring Process

Some things are simply out of our control, such as the current pandemic and its economic fallout. That said, you can still control how you approach recruitment for your business. Sure, your hiring team can’t magically change the way things have been for the past two years, but they can find new, creative ways to find the best people available and encourage them to apply. You might open your doors to a wider pool of candidates, improve and expand your employer outreach campaigns, create and advertise more remote work positions, establish new incentives for applicants, and so on. Not every initiative will succeed, but taking the time to reconfigure your hiring processes can benefit your business in the long run.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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How to Maintain Respect and Authority While Still Showing Appreciation to Your Team

By Leadership Resources 12/26/2021
Person appreciating their employee

Employee recognition matters, both in terms of retention and productivity. According to a recent Glassdoor survey, approximately 53% of respondents claimed they’d be more likely to stick with a company for the long haul if they genuinely felt appreciated by their managers — 81% stated they were more motivated when their hard work was regularly recognized. If you want to establish a durable, driven company culture, then you need to let your people know that they’re doing a good job. Of course, delivering positive sentiment for its own sake won’t yield the result you’re looking for either. The recognition you deliver must be earned or else the weight of said recognition will diminish. Moreover, you risk losing the respect and trust of your team and colleagues if your praise rings hollow.

Here’s how to maintain respect and authority while still showing plenty of appreciation to your team.

How to Appreciate Your Team Respectfully

Uphold Strong Communication Always

Some people still associate authority with a sort of reservedness, wherein the person in power is behind the scenes, rarely speaking to others outside of a close circle. However, making an effort to speak directly with team members is vital in building mutual respect and showing appreciation. Indeed, your team is bound to respect your authority much more if you’re regularly in the room with them, listening to their thoughts and concerns and playing a role in day-to-day decisions. By honing your leadership communication skills, you can remain well aware of what each team member is doing so you can highlight outstanding performance when you see it — and since your face will be well-known, your employees will believe your kind words when you convey them.

Set Clear Expectations

Good team management relies on coherent ground rules. Some of your employees will simply want to get their work done while others will actively try to go above and beyond. In either case, you need to set clear expectations so every team member knows what they should be doing, how they should behave, and whether or not their actions are worthy of distinct appreciation. When everyone is on the same page in this way, they can better direct their efforts and earn your recognition on a regular basis.

Manage Individual and Team Performance

In order for your praise to be consistently well-founded, you must keep close tabs on your team’s performance. As part of your expectation-setting, you should lay out key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you and your employees maintain a clear grasp on which metrics matter and why. Some common KPIs include sales targets and changes over time, customer retention rate, amount of time it takes to accomplish certain repeated tasks, etc. It’s crucial that these employee KPIs are measurable, realistic, specific, and understood. Performance management using KPIs and other methods will allow you to point to tangible data that reveals exceptional effort, distinct accomplishments, and other benchmarks worthy of applause.

Find Fresh Ways to Deliver Praise

If you’re still not sure of how to best manage your team and express your appreciation in a genuine way, do your best not to fall into stagnation — recognition is always more potent when it’s delivered in unexpected, novel ways. Employees who regularly go above and beyond deserve more than just another shout-out — it might be time to give them a meaningful reward (which in turn may encourage others to follow said employee’s example). Also, avoid concise, rote appreciation, instead taking the time to cater your praise in such a way that emphasizes an individual’s efforts. Timing and context can make a difference, too — will you recognize someone in the presence of their team or recognize their work one-on-one? There’s no single way to show your team appreciation, so mix up your delivery and wording to make the biggest impact each time.

Recognition with Respect

As a leader, you must strike a balance between expressing appreciation to your team and maintaining your authority so your people continue to feel motivated to do their best work. Pursuing ongoing leadership communication training is one of the best ways to achieve this balance. The better you are at communicating with your team, the stronger your culture will become — making sure your people feel sincerely appreciated is a major part of this equation.


At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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